Michael Campbell, who beat Tiger Woods at 2005 U.S. Open, plans return to golf

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Michael Campbell, who beat Tiger Woods at 2005 U.S. Open, plans return to golf

Euro Tour

Michael Campbell, who beat Tiger Woods at 2005 U.S. Open, plans return to golf

While Tiger Woods made his latest comeback last month in the Bahamas, the player that beat Woods in the 2005 U.S. Open is planning a return of his own.

Michael Campbell hasn’t played a pro tournament since he announce his retirment two-and-a-half years ago. But the 48-year-old Kiwi told Bunkered.co.uk that he plans to compete in some European Tour events in 2018 before playing a full senior schedule once he turns 50 in February 2019.

“It’ll be good to get the juices flowing and see if I like it or not,” Campbell said. “My friends and family have been getting excited about it, but who knows? I might hate it and all the traveling again. I really don’t know. It’s a mystery right now but it’s nice to have that unknown expectation. I’m just going to find my feet and see what happens.”

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Campbell was on top of the golf world when he defeated Woods to win the 2005 U.S. Open at Pinehurst. Later that year, he won the HSBC World Match Play and by the beginning of 2006 he was ranked 13th in the Official World Golf Ranking.

Just more than two years later, though, he was back outside the top 200. From 2009 to 2014, he notched just one worldwide top-10. Then after a missed cut at the 2014 Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, Campbell didn’t play again until that same event the following year. His return lasted just nine holes before Campbell withdrew, citing personal reasons. (Campbell separated with his wife of 18 years, Julie, in May 2014.)

Campbell didn’t play in the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst or the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay, either, missing the final two years of his 10-year exemption.

But now Campbell is in a better place. He has opened two golf academies in his new residence of Marbella, Spain, and personally, he has re-connected with his two sons – Thomas, 20, and Jordan, 18 – while also getting engaged. He had played about five rounds of golf a year during retirement, instead opting for hobbies, most notable cooking.

“After 20 to 25 years on tour, it got a little bit stale,” Campbell said. “I was a very absent father because I was so busy in my own little world. I spent half of their lives away from them and the last four years I’ve been able to catch up, reconnect, and spend some quality time with them. It’s been wonderful. … Something I’ve really enjoyed is just being normal – going to the supermarket, picking the kids up from school, watching them play sport, things like that. Now, they’re on their way to adulthood – my eldest is off to university in Australia – so the comeback is great timing and I feel like I’m in the right mindset to come back now, too.

“I’m just going to enjoy being out there and not expect too much. I need to lose a spare tire, but besides that, I’m sure I’ll be fine.”

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